Use your webcam as an alarm!
What I want to know is, are you using your webcam 100% ??.
That's saying, you can never chat the whole day and have that webcam on.
And when you are away, you probably don't let it on.
Talk about your computer, who keeps an eye on your computer/expensive devices when you are gone? Besides that, maybe your data on your computer is the most valueable in your house.
As known, a thief likes a Pentium that can be sold for a good price afterwards
What you need.
You need a PC, a webcam, an internet provider (you can be that yourself, if you have an 24-hours connection) and some handy program. For the first 3 you need to get it yourself, but for the 4th I will be there. That will say go to www.supervisioncam.com. There you can download the most recent version of the program 'Supervisioncam'. This download is 915kb. Right after you got the file downloaded you can start the installation procedure. Which you can select your wished language later. Notice that the makers say that they don't want any blaming when their software and your hardware won't co-operate properly (or not at all). Here the installation finishes. If your webcam is compatible with Supervisioncam (most are), then you can start the 'Security-program'. While the program starts you'll need to give a video-source (for me it would be 'Dual Mode USB Cameraâ€? and then it will go further.
Especially Windows XP can work well with the USB port and with the webcams.
In many cases you don't have to get your installation CD-ROM of your webcam. The point is, Windows XP is smart enough to get a good and compatible driver. This shows that Windows XP works well with most webcams. Other operating systems will also work well with webcams.
When the program is loaded for the first time, you will see that the webcam is active and gets recognized by the program. But not any more... so what is going on? You need to change some specific settings, before the software will be 100% working. Think about the size of the capture-images and the light that shines into the camera. Click on the menu-option 'Configuration' and 'Settings'. Notice that the settings-menu that appears has the following tabs:
2) External Switches
3) Save image
4) Show sound/ start program
5) Send message / Mail.
6) HTML page / Server upload / call in.
7) Activity timing.
Depending on the above terms, you will see what Supervisioncam can do.
It can detect motions and react on that. Detect motion? Yup, which is a very easy system.
The utility compares the image with the image of a half of second later. Is the bitmap information the same or is it a little different, then nothing will happen. If the number being added (a bitmap exists in binary (zeros and ones)) and there is a serious difference then something happened in front of the camera, and is a possibility of a thief or stranger in the range of your computer. Which makes it time for the alarm. This can come in the form of an e-mail (to your job for example), or a *.WAV (a barking dog?), or a start a program that will put on all lights.
But before it is that far, you will need to fill out the settings.
We'll start with the tab 'motion detection'. You need to fill in via which device the images are being given. And not only that: you also need to fill in the size of the images and the way of reading them. At the size of the images and the way of reading, we talk about the resolution and these are being decided by the webcam and screen correction in contact with the clearness.
It is good to choose a high resolution and a good screen quality. I have to admit, this will let you make 10 'grabs' per second instead of 50, but it is more then enough for the security job.
They're a good thief if he can get the PC out of the sight of the webcam in less then 1/10 of a second!
Another important setting is the sensibility of the detection. When should it give the alarm and when shouldn't. Normally the webcam senses all kinds of motions, you must be awake when you fill in those setting's. For the one security, 10% difference will be enough. While in another situation 25% may needed. You can also make some timers in this tab. Note: Make sure you are awake and clean when you set these settings.
I won't talk about this, but I will notice this settings.
This is an option which you can use the game port of the soundcard.
If the gameport receives a signal, you can react on this.
You can make a switch, that when the window or door opens it will react on that.
On the tab called 'Saving Image' can be filled in if you want to save the image.
And if so: which images must printed to the hard disc. If you want to save images every 2 minutes. You can save a whole day in 720 'stills' (30 * 24 = 720). Make sure you filled in where the computer must save the images on you hard disc. Also notice that you donâ€™t have unlimited free space on your PC, so cleaning the images sometimes would do good.
You can also chose to save the images as *.jpg or *.bmp. The bigger the image is you want to save, the better the quality and vice versa.
Sound and/or Action!
We'll now look at the tab called 'Show sound / start program'.
Here you can choose how the alarm will be active. As in, what is the PC going to do to get the thief away. You have two options here, 1) start a program and 2) play a sound file. Either way you can do what you want with it. I will talk about starting a program. You can still buy infra red kits which you can control power outlets. They are very simple: there a module between the power outlet and lamp (for example). With help of the infra red you can switch the module on and off. These kits exists of an infra red that you can control with the computer.
Good, the PC can react when the thief/stranger is being detected, but maybe you don't want to let the guy/girl know that you spotted him/her. It is possible with the tab called 'send message/ Mail' to send a message or send mail. You got two options here, 1) send a local message LAN or 2) send an e-mail. In case of an e-mail message, you need to fill in the e-mail address, the e-mail server and probably with the provider that needs to be called. No problem, the software has these settings. You can also add a 'still' as attachment to your e-mail, then you will know what's going on exactly from a distance.
Now for the web page.
Until now it was probably easy.
But I'm going to make it more complicated now. On the tab called 'HTML page / Server Upload / call in. If you configure it well, it is possible to let Supervisioncam upload a HTML page inclusive a couple of digitalized images to a webserver. Note: this server can be at your internet provider and that gives the opportunity to make your homepage some nicer with some images of yourself ".
The right time.
With this I am almost done with this tutorial/text about the settings.
There is one tab left called 'Activity timing'. On this tab you can fill in when Supervisioncam should become active. This means that you can set it on a full automatic, week days from 8 in the morning until 6 in the evening, and so on.
In the security.
Are your settings good and tested, then it is time to start using supervisioncam for security.
It is not that your computer is safe for 100% but the thief will probably on the webcam images.
That are in your mailbox or HTML site.